ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Suleymaniye

BOSPHORUS STRAIT, Istanbul, Turkey

2006.05.03

Our last day in Istanbul was spent for a leisure boat cruise on the Bosphorus Strait.  For 1.5 hour’s time, boat took us from the pier of Eminonu to the village of Anadolu Kavagi where the Bosphorus Strait met the Black Sea.  For the entire 31km journey, the boat sailed along the European side of Bosphorus.  Our boat left Eminonu at 10:30 sharp.  The first half was an exciting journey through the city of Istanbul, sailing under gigantic bridges, passing by luxury palaces and historical mosques.  The boat made a few stops at different neighbourhoods in the city, until fishing villages and small suburban communities gradually took over.  The entire journey was like going through a collection of postcards unfolding into an hour of motion picture.  The experience reminded us of the last scene in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Distant, where the protagonist sits by the Bosphorus watching the busy boat traffic passing by.

“To be traveling through the middle of a city as great, historic, and forlorn as Istanbul, and yet to feel the freedom of the open sea – that is the thrill of a trip along the Bosphorus. Pushed along by its strong currents, invigorated by the sea air that bears no trace of the dirt, smoke, and noise of the crowded city that surrounds it, the traveler begins to feel that, in spite of everything, this is still a place in which he can enjoy solitude and find freedom.” Orhan Pamuk

1Our boat left the pier at Eminonu as we bid farewell to Suleymaniye Mosque and Yeni Cami (New Mosque) in Fatih.

2At the opposite side, the Galata Tower dominates the skyline of Karakoy.

3We soon left the Galata Bridge behind to embark on our journey of the Bosphorus.

8Built in 1820’s, Nusretiye Mosque in Tophane was designed in Baroque style.

9Dolmabahçe Mosque (1855) and the modern skyscraper Süzer Plaza form a contrasting picture.

4Dolmabahçe Palace was the main palace of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887 and from 1909 to 1922.

5The former Ottoman palace Çırağan Palace has been converted into a 5-star hotel, and hosts one of the most expensive hotel suite in the world.

7Locals taking causal breaks at Barbaros Park in Besiktas, with Sinan Pasha Mosque at the background.

6Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Camii) and the 15 July Martyrs Bridge forms one of the most iconic scene along the Bosphorus.

10Histoical building Zeki Paşa Yalısı stands silently below the shadow of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

12Built in 1452, the Rumeli Hisari Fortress near Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge was built by the Ottoman during their planned siege of Constantinople.

11Apart from historical palaces and mosques, the waterfront of Bosphorus is also dotted with luxury apartments and villas.

13There are all kinds of styles for villas along the Bosphorus.

14Some villas have been converted into hotels or high end restaurants.

15New villas in contemporary style have been constructed along with the traditional ones.

16Some traditional timber villas still await for their chance of renovation.

17The waterfront of Bosphorus has been popular among the wealthy class of Istanbul for centuries.

19Some of the historical buildings were in really bad shape after years of negligence.

20Further away from the city, some waterfront areas are occupied by less privilege communities.

18Other than tourist boats, the Bosphorus is busy with all kinds of boats.


SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE, Istanbul, Turkey

2006.05.01

Like Rome, Constantinople was founded as the city of seven hills.  The First Hill was the heart of the ancient capital where the Greeks found the city of Byzantium.  For today’s tourists, the First Hill is equivalent to Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, while the Second Hill is dominated by the Great Bazaar.  Upon the top of the Third Hill stands Suleymaniye Mosque, one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul.  Commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent and designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, Suleymaniye Mosque was completed in 1557 as the fourth imperial mosque.  For Sultan Suleiman, erecting the Suleymaniye Mosque was like building his version of Hagia Sophia of Temple of Solomon.  For architect Mimar Sinan, the most prominent architect in Ottoman history who was responsible for at least 374 structures and worked as the chief imperial architect for nearly 50 years, the Suleymaniye Mosque was considered as a fine example of work from his mid-career.

06ME03-35The four minarets of Süleymaniye Mosque are some of the most visible features of historic Istanbul from the Golden Horn.

06ME03-36The ablution facilities for wudu line along the exterior wall of the mosque.

06ME03-34To the right of the main entrance is the mosque cemetery, containing historical tombstones and the octagonal mausoleum of Suleyman and his wife Haseki Hurrem Sultan.

06ME03-37The design of Süleymaniye Mosque was strongly influenced by the Hagia Sophia.

blue mosqueThe dome of Süleymaniye Mosque is 53m high and has a diameter of 26.5m, smaller than the one of Hagia Sophia.

0ME04-02A fountain stands in the centre of the first courtyard of the mosque.

0ME04-05The interior space is square in plan.  Although simple in design, the white mihrab is undoubtedly the focal point inside the mosque.

borphorus behind suleymaniye camiiLooking north, the skyline of Karakoy across the Golden Horn lies right in front of us.

university students at suleymaniye camiiSuleymaniye Mosque is surrounded by the campus of Istanbul University.  We met two university students who were more than eager to chat with us about their beloved city.

dome workerSeveral restoration staff of Suleymaniye Mosque reminded us that maintaining such a huge amount of historical buildings in Istanbul required continuous efforts and techniques of many generations.